Private label saw robust gains across all major U.S. retail channels last year as consumers increasingly switched from national brands and drove store brands to all-time highs in  volume, total revenue and market share, according to the latest industry statistics published in the Private Label Manufacturers Association's 2010 Private Label Yearbook.


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PLMA: Store brands continue to gain share

June 28th, 2010

NEW YORK – Private label saw robust gains across all major U.S. retail channels last year as consumers increasingly switched from national brands and drove store brands to all-time highs in  volume, total revenue and market share, according to the latest industry statistics published in the Private Label Manufacturers Association's 2010 Private Label Yearbook.

PLMA said Monday that sales of private-label increased in 2009 by 1.8 billion units, whereas national brands were down 2.1 billion units. Store brands also added $2.7 billion in value to reach $86.4 billion in total sales. National brand sales increased by $1.6 billion, but PLMA reported that the gain stemmed mainly from higher prices.

In supermarkets, store brands reached a historic high of 23.7% in unit share last year, according to the yearbook. Private-label units were up 6.4% for the year, compared with a decline of 1.7% for national brands. The growth in store-brand units (+1.7 billion) more than offset the erosion of national brands (-1.5 billion), resulting in a net gain for the channel as a whole and stemming a multiyear trend of overall unit losses in U.S. supermarket, the association noted.

On the revenue side, store brands accounted for 90% of all gains in supermarkets, adding $1.5 billion in new sales (+2.9%), while national brands were virtually flat (+0.1%). The decline in national brand units suggests that their sales gain of $200 million was a result of price inflation, PLMA said. Overall, store-brand sales in supermarkets reached $55.5 billion, and dollar market share climbed to 18.7% — both new all-time highs.

At drugstores chains, private-label market share in units reached 16.3% as volume grew by 4%. National brands recorded a loss of 3.9% in units. As in supermarkets, the absolute growth of 461 million store brand units across all departments more than made up for the channel's loss of national brand volume (-378 million).

Store brands were responsible for 52% of the total sales growth in drug chains, adding close to a half-billion dollars in new sales. Store-brand revenue grew 8.8%, while national brands saw an uptick of 1.2% in sales. The total value of store brands sales in drug chains was $6.1 billion, and dollar market share was 14.1%. Both figures were record numbers.

"First published in 1992, the PLMA annual yearbook's coverage has grown from fewer than 200 product categories to more than 700, reflecting the expansion and penetration of private label products in the marketplace," PLMA president Brian Sharoff said in a statement.

"The past year has even greater significance, since it is the first full year of the impact of the recession. Not surprisingly, the statistics document the amazing increases in store brand popularity," Sharoff added. "But as most market researchers know, the growth of store brands is by no means a recessionary phenomenon. Its success began years before the current downturn and is rooted in increasing assortment, quality ingredients, innovative product concepts, and retailer commitment."

Data for the 2010 Private Label Yearbook was compiled by The Nielsen Co. for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 26, 2009, PLMA said.

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